The Ford Rotunda
December 12, 2009
The Ford Rotunda – Dearborn, Michigan, photographer unknown
Michigan in Pictures regular Matt passed an email about the Ford Rotunda along that had some cool pictures I thought folks would like to see. When flames consumed a Christmas fantasy from the Detroit News Rearview Mirror begins:
From 1936 to 1962, the gear-shaped Ford Rotunda attracted visitors from around the world. It was the fifth most popular tourist destination in the United States in the 1950s.
The building had its roots in the 1933 Chicago World’s Fair, known as the Century of Progress Exposition, which opened in May of 1933 and attracted more than 40 million visitors over its two-year run. One of the major attractions at the fair was Ford Motor Company’s Rotunda, which was disassembled after the fair and brought back to Dearborn, where it was reconstructed using more permanent materials. Designed to be the showcase of the auto industry, the Ford Rotunda was opened to the public on May 14, 1936.
…In 1960, the Rotunda ranked behind only Niagara Falls, the Great Smoky Mountains National Park, The Smithsonian Institution and the Lincoln Memorial as a national tourist destination. It was more popular than Yellowstone, Mount Vernon, the Washington Monument and the Statue of Liberty.
Read on for the sad tale of how it burned to the ground on November 9, 1962.
Television History – The First 75 Years might be the photographer – there’s some of the same shots there and they write about their parents taking them to see Santa during the Christmas Season at the Rotunda. They also have a nice aerial of how the Ford Rotunda was located in relation to the Rouge Plant.